Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused for robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair...all in the same day.
A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.
Tycoon J.L. Higgins controls his whole family, but one of his sons- in-law, Dan Brooks and his daughter Alice are fed up with that. Brooks quits his job as manager of J.L.'s paper box factory and devotes his life to his racing horse Broadway Bill, but his bank- roll is thin and the luck is against him, he is arrested because of $150 he owes somebody for horse food, but suddenly a planed fraud by somebody else seems to offer him a chance...Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Successful businessman Warner Baxter quits his job to return to the life of horse racing. Broadway Bill is a horse that Baxter thinks can take him to the big time. The problem is that he is practically broke and must scrimp and scheme to somehow get the money needed to get Bill in 'the big race'.
This is an amazing film because it was nothing like I would have expected. Even though it appeared right after director Capra's masterpiece IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, it must have been in the planning stages long before hand. That's because IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT cleaned up at the Oscars and was a huge hit. You'd expect, therefore, that Capra's next film would have been a top-notch film--not some crappy old B-movie. Yet, aside from having a good cast, Broadway BILL is, at heart, just a clichéd B-movie--and certainly far from the director's best.
Part of the problem is that it's hard to have a horse racing film that is fresh and exciting. In the 1930s, Hollywood made quite a few racing films--and they all seem very similar. In fact, as I watched Broadway BILL, I kept thinking "wow, this reminds me of another racing film I saw"--and this happened again and again. While I cannot remember every title, it's clearly a lot like SERGEANT MURPHY and especially LONG SHOT. In fact, you could say that LONG SHOT was a re-working of Broadway BILL--not exactly a remake, but using major chunks of the original story. It's a case of 'been there, done that'.
In some ways, this sort of clichéd bilge is a surprise--not just because Capra was at the helm. You'd think it would be a better film with Warner Baxter, as he was a big name in 1934 as he'd already won an Oscar for IN OLD ARIZONA and had a starring performance the year before in 42ND STREET. Additionally, Myrna Loy had starred in the hugely successful THIN MAN earlier that year--and it catapulted her to stardom. You'd have thought she could have merited something better than this! Perhaps someone was holding family members of Capra, Baxter and Loy hostage--otherwise, there's no explaining this film!
In addition to a clichéd B-movie plot, the picture also betrayed a cheapness you just wouldn't have expected from a Capra picture. In the very beginning of the movie, there is one of the very, very worst examples of rotten rear-projected camera work. It's obvious that Warner Baxter is clearly riding in a car that is stationary and the 'horse' running along side of his very, very clearly is being projected on a screen.
The most amazing thing about this silly film is that in 1950, Capra would remake this movie as RIDING HIGH!! Remakes are a decent idea if the original story is flawed or the acting particularly bad and you somehow correct these flaws---but when the story idea is a clichéd and dusty old plot, a remake can't help but fail as well.
My advice is to skip this one or DON'T expect it to be an A-picture. If you just pretend it's a cheap B-movie, then it's very pleasant experience, as it's reasonably entertaining...in a very modest way.
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